7 dead, 13 missing as rains hit Philippines-A A +A
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
MANILA (4th Update 5:59 p.m.) — Big waves smashed a passenger boat into rocky outcrops and sunk the vessel in stormy weather in Palawan, killing at least five people while 54 others were rescued, officials said Wednesday.
The MV Josille 2 sank near before midnight Tuesday near an island off the resort town of El Nido in Palawan Island, said coast guard spokesman Lt. Commander Armand Balilo.
Balilo said the wooden-hulled vessel has left port of Liminancong village in Palawan's Taytay town at 7 p.m. without go-signal from the coast guard.
One of the passengers managed to contact the coast guard, sparking a search that also involved the Philippine navy and local fishermen. Rescuers plucked the bodies of three women and two men at sea, officials said.
Navy Commodore Alexander Lopez said authorities were not sure how many people were on board the boat because the dead and rescued have already exceeded the manifest count of 46.
Aside from passengers, the vessel also has 65 heads of carabao and other cargoes onboard, Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesperson Chief Superintendent Agrimero Cruz Jr. said in a text message.
The ill-fated ship, owned by Atienza Shipping Lines, was captained by Jose Ramon de Castro with 17 crew members.
Navy, coast guard and fishing boats would continue a search in the rough waters, but strong winds prevented military planes from participating, Lopez said.
Many of the rescued passengers have returned to Liminangcong, where the Manila-bound boat originated, he said.
The onset of the typhoon season brought heavy rains, flash floods and strong waves in southern Mindanao region, where 75 fishermen and villagers were rescued while 13 others are still unaccounted for, regional military spokesman Maj. Jake Obligado said. He said search and rescue operations were ongoing.
Mayor Arturo Lawa of Sarangani's Maasim town said the missing fishermen came from the villages of Tinoto, Kolon, Kanalo, Kamanga, Poblacion, Kablacan, Kabatiol, and Pananag.
The weather bureau said Tuesday strong gale force is expected to affect the seaboards of Luzon and western seaboard of the Visayas.
"Fishing boats and other small seacrafts are advised not to venture out into the sea while larger sea vessels are alerted against big waves," the bureau said.
Three days of flooding in several southern provinces displaced nearly 3,000 families and at least two drowned in Sarangani's Glan town, said Benito Ramos, head of the Philippines' disaster response agency.
Those who fled were being sheltered in public gymnasiums and other government buildings.
A new storm in the western Pacific was forecast to reach the eastern Philippines on Friday this week and could become the first typhoon of the year. It will named "Butchoy" once it enters the country's area of responsibility.
Residents living in low lying areas and along mountain slopes are advised to be on alert for possible occurrence of flashfloods and landslides due to a shallow low pressure area affecting east of northern Mindanao. (Sunnex/Virgil Lopez/With AP)